Differences in the way we handle and think about money often reflect major differences in the way we feel about ourselves.
As we all know, none better than Paul McCartney, money can’t buy you love. But on the other hand, love should not create a situation where you ignore your own financial future just because you’re so in love.
Case in point, when I met my new husband Mike through Match.com, I felt comfortable enough to tell him within just a couple hours of meeting, that I was good with money. His response was, “Me too.” Useful information, but how do you really know?
After a few months, when I felt like our relationship had reached a certain level of trust and honesty, I brought all of my documentation on home ownership, retirement funds, etc. over to his house. Surprise!
Even though we had both said we owned our homes and had significant retirement assets, I wanted to see it all in black and white. First we went to the county property records to make certain that our names really were on our properties. Then we brought out our retirement fund statements. I’ll show you mine, if you’ll show me yours!
As it turned out, we were both good with money, an essential element in our decision to team up for the long term. Being good with money, but not obsessed with it is an important trait to share with your significant other.
When Mike and I did marry, a tough financial decision came up for me. Could I share a checking account? Even though I had been married before, I had never shared checking with anyone. But it slowly dawned on me, if I didn’t trust him enough to share checking, than why had I married him in the first place?
Financial infidelity is one of the primary causes of divorce today. I clearly recall times in my first marriage when I thought: “You’re not treating me fairly (either emotionally or financially), so I’m going to go spend money and not tell you about it.” This is a very bad sign in any relationship. Don’t use money against each other. Either talk about the problems in the relationship, or move on if the differences truly are irreconcilable.
Differences in the way we handle and think about money often reflect major differences in the way we feel about ourselves. People who have a strong sense of self-esteem and self authority, also handle their financial future with respect. If you and your partner have synchronized feelings about money, chances are excellent that you are a good match in other areas.
But if your new friend has no respect for money, runs up lots of debt and has no intention of ever paying up, run the other way… Fast!!!
One of the most important pieces of wisdom I wish I had had as a mere 20 or 30 year old, is the broader perspective that only aging can provide for us. Now I find that a recent brain injury has provided a similar educational opportunity.
We all know the “stories” of our lives. We all know the specific meanings we have assigned to certain life experiences. What we don’t always accept and acknowledge is that these meaning can and do change over time.
One of the life lessons I have re-learned from my recent concussion:
It may take a while, but life will always eventually make sense.
My metaphor for this learning is the time it sometimes takes for me to remember a certain word for a common object or activity. Of course it is frustrating to forget simple words and meanings, but I feel reassured that they will come through eventually, because they always do.
The on and off confusion created by my concussion is a daily reminder that all the stories we tell ourselves, all of the meanings we assign to particular events in our lives, are only temporary stops along the way. We are free at any time to re-frame their meaning, to change them to match our present state of mind and level of learning.
That is one of the beauties of life itself; nothing is static, everything is changing at every moment.
In these uncertain times, the Buddhist perspective reminds us:
To resist life’s inevitable impermanence is to suffer, and to accept change with compassion is to transcend suffering.
Sure, I had started my own local dating service six months before, but I was also 49, divorced, and so disillusioned with love. A bad divorce can do that to you, but I found meeting so many cool divorcees encouraging. Perhaps there was still hope for us all.
As a dating coach, the first challenge I faced was having too many women to match with my male clients. Men can be quite shy about admitting they need help in the romance department. I felt determined to find some great love matches for my women clients!
I decided to solve my inventory problem by putting my own very general profile on Match.com. I would use myself as bait online. Perhaps I would attract a few new male clients, and then tell them about the many great women I had for them to meet.
The first man to respond was called “Tall Guy” online. He was a stand-out because of his ready responsiveness, his genuine interest, and BTW, he looked pretty cute to me!
The “Tall Guy” came over to meet me on a Saturday afternoon. Nosy me, I spied on him as he got out of his bright red pick-up, trying to decide whether to hide his big bouquet of flowers behind his back as he walked up to the door.
If you have ever had the supreme pleasure of experiencing love at first sight, then you know what happened next. Ten hours later we were still talking, laughing and feeling like heaven on earth. We both felt we had finally met someone we could naturally relate to on so many amazing levels.
I will never forget the euphoria we felt spending so much time together in the weeks after we first met. We had both waited a lifetime to feel this kind of intimate connection. We married exactly eight months later, and to this day we acknowledge exactly how fortunate we were to meet at just the right time. I mean, what are the chances?